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Paris wine/champagne tasting day trip, no car: what are the options?

Paris wine/champagne tasting day trip, no car: what are the options?

Old Dec 30th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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Paris wine/champagne tasting day trip, no car: what are the options?

We (2 of us) are hoping to do a quick, one-day wine-tasting excursion during our 6-day trip to Paris in April. We have an apartment booked in the city already, so do not want to end up double-paying for accommodations by spending the night outside the city. Any suggestions on towns (1) we could reach via an early TGV out/late TGV back to Paris and (2) where we could do a day's worth of sightseeing, tasting etc. on foot, without needing a rental car or having to hire a taxi? -- Realizing most chateaux are out in the country, #2 is probably the more limiting factor - but I had the impression, maybe mistakenly, that some towns do have marches aux vins and/or wine bars that offer tastings of regional wines. Would Beaune be too far? Or would Dijon, Angers, or Reims fit the bill? Thoughts on these, or any other suggestions (we're very democratic when it comes to wine styles, especially when paired with local food -- all good!) would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 02:56 PM
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I'm pretty sure that there are many wine bars right in Paris. Six days is not much time. Unless you have been to Paris many times before, I would just stay put.

If I wanted to go to an interesting town, taste wine, see the town - I would choose Beaune. Take a TGV to Dijon and then it is a quick train to Beaune. Maybe do this on Saturday - market day in Beaune. Strasbourg is another option, but it is not quite as wine-oriented as Beaune. There is a Marche au Vin in Beaune plus lots & lots of wine tasting shops.

Stu Dudley
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 04:02 PM
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You could easily make a trip via TGV to Reims, which is one of the major towns in Champagne. You won't really have time in a single day to get out to the vineyards, but you will be able to tour a couple of the champagne houses in the city, visit the cathedral (with some great stained glass windows designed by Chagall), do a bit of an Art Deco walking tour and/or visit the Surrender Museum (the preserved war room, in a school, where the Germans surrendered to the Allied Forces in WWII). To get the msot out of the trip, you'll need to take the earliest and latest trains, and book appointments to tour the champagne houses in advance. The tours of champagne houses can be quite fun, albeit a bit kitschy.

We're going back to Reims this summer. It's one of our favourite French cities. I think it might be a slightly quicker trip than Beaune (which I haven't visited) and a much shorter trip than Strasbourg.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 06:38 PM
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Bookmarking for reference. I'll be in Paris for 8 days in May and have been considering a similar day trip...Reims was at the top of my list, but would like to hear other suggestions!
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 06:12 AM
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Hi rmw,

If all you want to do is taste wine, why not stay in Paris - especially if you have only 6 days?

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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 07:02 AM
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LowCountryIslander

While a day trip to Reims is possible, it would be better to do it as an overnight trip if you can, so you're not so rushed. The same holds true for other relatively near wine country destinations like Beaune.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 07:21 AM
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Reims is a good choice. Also, the Champagne tours are often more interesting than the usual winery tours because of the Champagne caves themselves and how they are fit into the chalk veins running underground.

I agree that overnight is better but you could make a nice day of it to Reims. I forget which houses are right in the city--there certainly are a few that do not require a car. Frogoutofwater gives good advice.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 07:58 AM
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If you are interested in champagne and history, I would recommend Reims. However, if you want to visit two or three champagne houses, I would recommend Epernay. We have been to both cities several times and have enjoyed them both. However, we prefer Epernay because it is more for the champagne lover than the tourist. If you have a chance, make a reservation for the private tour at Perrier Jouet; it is one of the best tours of a winery/champagne house we have taken. Moet and Mercier also have good tours in Epernay. You can easily make a day trip to Epernay.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 09:49 AM
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It is very easy to go to Reims for the day and visit at least one champagne house if you want. It's not difficult at all. In fact, it wouldn't even make sense to hire a car to do that IMO. You can also go to Epernay for that as it is geared to tourists who do just that, and it's just a small town. I think you might want to get over the dread of using a taxi for a short trip, though, don't know why that should be so bad for you (ie, from the train station to a champagne house). YOu can walk if you want, but it's not for people who don't like walking (in Reims). I think Veuve Cliquot is the closest to the station.

YOU can easily get to Beaune in a day and go to a shop to taste wine there but I don't really see the point of that.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Mumm cave is quite near Reims train station so most convenient, and its tour is quite enjoyable (in English) with a generous tasting at the end. http://www.mumm.com/en/visites/nos_visites.php?id=1.0
Other caves are generally south of the cathedral. Piper-Heidsieck is popular, and no reservation required. Other prestigious firms like Tattinger and Lanson require an appointment (by phone - English spoken and friendly to non-specialists). There is always a charge for a guided visit and tasting. In April they are open every day.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Thanks very much for all the great suggestions!
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 12:12 PM
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hi rmw,

here's a link to the map of the 4 champagne houses in Reims [produced by the tourist information office] that will allow public visits:

http://www.reims-tourism.com/reims-c...n-cellars.aspx

you could see mumm first, then get a cab/walk to the other three which are all very close together, then get a cab/walk back into town.

unfortunately, the guided tours referred to in the website are all in french, but they do have audio-tapes to hire.

I too love Reims [the first proper city that we stopped in in France, on my first ever trip to France with my parents when I was about 12] ad i had a lot of fun showing the cathedral to my own children when they were about that age.

a day there would make a terrific day trip from Paris, and you wouldn't need to book it - just decide the night before.

have a great time,

regards, ann
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